It is always dangerous to be overconfident about the outcome of a game but sometimes it is hard not to be. When we see a team that is an overwhelming underdog in a game, it is only natural to be confident in the favorite to win. Take this Sunday’s game between the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins.

Even the most loyal, die-hard Dolphins fans have to think that their team is going to get demolished by the Patriots. Their defense made Lamar Jackson look like a Hall of Famer, their offense couldn’t run the ball (21 total yards), and the passing game wasn’t much better (15-32 for 179 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions.

Then when you factor in how well the Patriots played against a team vastly superior to the Dolphins, the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the game begins to look really ugly. This is evident in the official spread for the game, 18.5 points (at DraftKings).

Spreads like that are common in college football games where the talent disparity between some of the large programs and some of the teams they schedule can be immense. But at the professional level, there is rarely that kind of talent gulf between teams.

The largest spread ever for an NFL game was back in 1976 when the Pittsburgh Steelers took on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Pittsburgh was favored by 27 and ended up winning by 42 (42-0).

Fans that watched the Patriots-Steelers game on Sunday night and caught the highlights of the Ravens-Dolphins game are probably pretty confident that the Patriots can cover that spread with ease.  But if you take the Patriots and they cover the spread as easily as expected you will only win about $90 on a $100 bet.

Wouldn’t you rather win a little more on a game that is expected to be a blowout? If you take one of the alternate spreads that DraftKings is offering, you can:

  • Patriots -32 +475
  • Patriots -30.5 +380
  • Patriots -29 +320
  • Patriots -27.5 +270
  • Patriots -26 +220
  • Patriots -25.5 +205
  • Patriots -25 +220
  • Patriots -24.5 +205
  • Patriots -24 +195
  • Patriots -22.5 +143
  • Patriots -21.5 +143
  • Patriots -20.5 +128
  • Patriots -19 +105

The Ravens led the Dolphins by 32 points at the half, 42-0, and stepped off the gas in the second half and still won by 49 points. New England is a much better team and Bill Belichick is not known for taking his foot off the gas until late in the game (if at all). Even if he did insert Jarret Stidham into the game, if he can play like he did during the preseason, the Patriots will likely continue to run up the score.

It is not hard to imagine the Patriots blowing the Dolphins out and winning by more than 32 points. At the same time, for some odd reason, the Patriots have struggled in recent years when they travel to Miami (lost the last five). What if they struggle again?

If you are afraid they might, you can take a smaller spread. You will win less, of course, but at least you will not lose:

  • Patriots -18 -115
  • Patriots -16.5 -143
  • Patriots -15.5 -175
  • Patriots -13 -240
  • Patriots -12.5 -250
  • Patriots -12 -305
  • Patriots -11 -345
  • Patriots -9.5 -385
  • Patriots -8 -500
  • Patriots -6.5 -625
  • Patriots -5 -835

So—how should you bet?

If you are actually putting money on this game, you might as well go for the gusto and take -32. There is no reason to think the Patriots can’t cover that spread against the woeful Dolphins.

 

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